NHCHC Organizational Member Wins National Award

Montgomery Cares has been recognized as the winner of one of the 2012 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards for its program “Safe Transitions: Managing Hospital Discharge for County Residents Who Are Homeless”.

An organizational member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Montgomery Cares is an HCH affiliate of the Montgomery County, Md., Department of Health and Human Services. Its “Safe Transitions” program was deemed Best in Health Category among all the programs recognized nationally this year.

According to the NACo website, recent data shows that one in five homeless individuals admitted to shelter programs came from either in-patient medical facilities or other institutional settings. Many parts of America are not set up to ensure homeless patients find adequate housing and community treatment after hospital discharge, but with its “Safe Transitions” program, Montgomery Cares is set to break that trend.

The program establishes a detailed protocol for discharge planners to follow that includes an in-depth consideration of whether or not the patient is suitable for discharge, even under homeless conditions. Then, the discharge planner contacts appropriate shelter providers to determine that the patient will have a bed and resources to assist with his or her on-going medical needs. Finally, arrangements are made for follow-up medical care, transferring medical records to the patient while providing them with clothing, medical equipment, discharge instructions, and transportation to or from shelter locations.

Senior Administrator for Montgomery Cares and Board Member of the National HCH Council Jean Hochron is excited about the award and the program’s success in the Washington, D.C., suburb.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Ellen Brown and Danielle Jacques, our two phenomenal community health nurses,” she said.